UA grad student presents science research to Congress

October 28, 2009

By hammersmith

A University of Arizona graduate student’s work was one of 28 research projects selected nationally to be presented on Capitol Hill.

UA doctoral entomology student Shannon Heuberger grew up in Oregon near farming areas, which resulted in her developing an interest in agriculture. Growing tired of flipping burgers as a high school student, she pursued a summer internship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at an entomology laboratory that jump started a career in the study of agricultural gene flow and its environmental consequences.

Heuberger works in the laboratory of professor of entomology Yves Carriere in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and has developed a method for documenting and understanding unwanted gene flow between genetically engineered pest resistant crops and non-pest resistant crops, with an eye toward developing containment strategies.

She presented her work in September during the 2009 United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Fellowship Conference and had the opportunity to educate policymakers and show congress the results of their funding.

In the U.S., 50 percent of corn and cotton crops are pest resistant genetically modified organisms that contain the DNA from other species. Traditionally cotton has been one of the most pesticide intensive crops and in Arizona the cotton industry relies heavily on pest resistant genetically modified cotton that prevents pest feeding of the crop. 

“In high school I began working on farms with farmers and learning about challenges they face. I learned that pest management is one of the huge problems facing farmers today. Farmers need more options, more effective ways to control pests in their fields and also more sustainable ways to protect their fields,” Heuberger said.

Read more from the October 4 issue of UANews at the link below.

Yves Carriere, Department of Entomology,

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